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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sharing the wisdom of change

We live from truth to truth, fact to fact. From discovery to invention; information to knowhow until we come to the wisdom of understanding that all things change.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thoughts on Retirement


Twenty years ago I mused that people were facing retirement. I was a young consultant and was making my way up in the world. Part of my job then was to train people and get them ready for imminent retirement. I mean a few months or less before they were bumped off the employment ship. I did not think much of it then. But then what did you expect. I had things to do and placed to go. Retirement was on someone else’s radar.  But I did make a mental note to be careful about how I lived. Today two decades later what was a mere aphorism has struck reality. As the Americans would say “pay dirt”. To those who don’t understand what I am saying retirement has come calling.

Well then what do I make of it. I have some advice for one group of people and some thoughts for another. To one group I say 20 years is not as long as you might think. To the other “retirement” is not a new in the English vocabulary. It may have changed meaning over time, but it does suggest moving away, de-linking or becoming de-listed from something like demobilized from the army. Interestingly, at various points in our lives we retire from school, home, college and variously from any number of jobs and employment engagements at one time or other. Given this truth we should all be familiar with the term retirement - getting ready for the nest assignment in life. That’s it! Getting ready for the next phase of life!

Nonetheless, retirement attracts an ominous echo when it is attached to a relatively senior age. It sounds like the “last chance”. Having observed those who have gone before and around me I realize that retirement presents three challenges. The first, associated with employment, is to secure a means of living. Notice I did not say “means of income”. Enough to live on. The second concern which is related to being delinked from employment is to have something to live for. Employment gives people something to do (not necessarily something to live for). When facing retirement one has to set their own agenda and keep to it. Being your own boss is not as easy as many people make it sound especially if you have not done it all your life. The third joy is to engage in creating a legacy to pass on to your great grandchildren. I love this one. While the first may be provided for, the second depend on your personal discipline. However, the third I find liberating – working on something to gift the world gives one energy to face the world not just another day but every day! These three things are what I consider retirement or whatever you want to call it to be all about. There are those who would say that these three are the same thing. But then they are not facing retirement.

Allan Bukusi

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TEN Questions for Every Employee

1. Is it important to have a plan for a job before you get employed? Explain your answer
Planning to benefit from a job or work assignment ensures that a person is not just motivated by the offer of a job and anticipated income, but that they stay motivated to pursue higher goals and implement fulfilling growth plans in their own circumstances in life.

2. Why do people lose work focus and become demotivated after earning a salary for a few months?
People can become demotivated after their basic needs are (briefly) satisfied such as is facilitated by a consistent salary. Or, become complacent once they have mastered the job, but make no effort to perfect or excel in their work. This makes employees miss out on opportunities for their own personal development that employees may offer. 

3. How long should you take on a job before you look for “greener pastures”?
People looking for greener pastures they are often looking for more money and less work. But advancement is not always about a simple promotion. It could mean an opportunity to complete a personal project by virtue of the location of your current job or accumulate capital to change your economic status. My advice is before you make a move to another job make sure you have planted some grass of your own.

4. Is it possible to work for 20 years without accumulating any assets? Yes or No? Explain your view?
Yes it is possible to work for many years without making any savings or accumulating wealth for yourself and family to live on after you leave the job. While having a retirement plan is important, having a wealth creation plan based on your monthly income that can sustain you should you lose your job is very wise!

5. The purpose of a job is to “earn a living” ; true or false – explain your response
False; Employment provides many more and greater benefits to employees than earning a living. The core of a job is work. If you are able to work you can live off your work. Nonetheless, formal employment provides you the privilege of at least four things financial income, experience, exposure to enterprise and the opportunity to develop yourself. There is more to work than living. In the long run it is what you are giving that is important.

6. The job belongs to the employer; true or false: explain what this mean to the employee?
True; employers create jobs for people to access employment and help them to create wealth. This means that the only stake the employee has in an enterprise is to do his assigned work and receive the agreed remuneration. If an employee wishes to remain employed he or she must do the job. Nonetheless, both parties are free to agree or disagree over terms and go their separate ways!

7. Write down three objectives for employment; How does each apply to you as an employee?
a) To create wealth for your employer, b) to learn enterprise and c) to provide you with an opportunity to develop yourself. The first thing I should do as an employee is focus on creating value for my employer to justify my employment. Then I should profit from the exposure to the process of enterprise and exercise and develop skills (capacity) to create more wealth over time.

8. “My salary is for paying my rent and meeting my expenses. When I need capital I should go to the bank”. True or false. Explain your answer?
False; there is no difference between the money the bank loans you and what you earn as a salary. The first thing the bank will ask you for is your payslip as evidence of your ability to create wealth to repay the loan. However, the bank will benefit from your work being the wealth you use to pay back the loan. Your salary is just as good money as the “capital” you get from the bank. It just depends on how you chose to use it.

9. It is not possible to create wealth with a small salary. You need to earn a lot of money in order to become rich? Discuss.
Many employees despise the power a predictable and consistent income gives them to create wealth and spend most their career trying to earn higher salaries in order to get rich. Nonetheless, those with patience and a plan end up owning more wealth than those with no patience and high incomes.

10. Does having a job make you a responsible person? Explain your answer with an example.
Having a job may make you self-reliant, but does not guarantee that you will become responsible. Responsibility is a choice of character. Carrying out the requirements of a job allows you to earn an income. You can choose to spend all your money on alcohol or feed your family.  The choice is yours.

Allan Bukusi is the author of How to Prosper in Employment: A book claims that most employees throw away a lifetime opportunity to create wealth for themselves and family because of a lack on knowledge and understanding of the purpose and power of employment to create wealth. Poverty in Africa can be revered if employees stopped making excuses for living from "hand to mouth" and started applying the simple principles of wealth creation today!  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Seven Fathers...


As siblings called him dad, pops or buda depending on the dictates of the situation. His office colleagues  called him Sir James. Sir Jim was a strong choleric with a towering intellect. He taught us that nothing comes to you except by hard work. You could get passed him with very few things, but the one that could never pass was laziness. I am glad he folded in me the principles of hard work, diligence and self-reliance early in life. They have taken me to the top of my career.

Mr. Akhwale was not my ideal father figure. He was not a personable man, but what he said made a lot of sense to others in the office. I thought it was because he was among the oldest employees in the firm and knew a thing or two about football. But he did have a heart for a young man who had just landed in the accounts section on his first job like a lost puppy in cell with Vikings. After observing, my meek existence in the hostile environment where everyone spent everything they earned, he came up to my desk one day and pushed a set of forms in front of my face and said “fill these”. I had no care of what the forms were about. I just wanted him away from my space. I left the company two years later with $150. The money saved for me by the cooperative. If Mr. Akhwale had not given me those forms I would have left with absolutely nothing! My financial father taught me that it is a good thing to have a job, but it more important to prosper from your work. Since then I religiously reinvest 20% of my earnings and create wealth for myself and family.

My grandfather Enoch, was born of the soil. We didn’t talk much because we did not speak the same language and lived in different times. We hardly met even though we were related. But after I dug his grave, graduated from college and took up my first teaching post, I began my own journey into the world. Later I came to realize the meaning of his last words to me – wherever you go and whatever you do never forget God. A spiritual father is really a misnomer, but in the crisis of life and if you will remain sane, I would rather you had one. Every time I come to the end of reason I go one step higher.

Then there was Sande. In him a mighty man you will not see. At least not a celebrity. But to him all that mattered was that I be sincere even if I was sincerely wrong. As a youth I needed someone to believe in me for me. That was important to me then. He taught me to hold on to my dreams, admit my failings but rise up with integrity to be all that I could be.   He taught me never to lose faith. For without faith no man can be. Everyone needs a mentor.

Mwangura was as unique as they come. When I met him 20 years after I departed from his classroom  he not only recognized me but called me by name and asked after my brother. A classroom is nowhere to meet a father, but he abruptly settled me into the math class and forever framed my paradigm of success. He never rewarded us for being the best in class. The only competition you will face in life is to better yourself. To earn his respect, you had to do better in the next test.

My sixth father was a white man. Hawkins did not know me except for what I presented on a paper CV. But after he interviewed me in the parking lot he made me the manager of his business and promptly left for Europe. To this day I don’t understand why anyone would do such a thing, but that meeting established my lifelong career. I am still feeding off the challenge he placed before me. He said to me- you are stepping out of a Jumbo jet and boarding a biplane; there will be turbulents. Life has taught me that both planes fly. Do it anyway!

My seventh father MacMillan is a man who would gain nothing from standing with me or speaking for me. He believes I have something to offer the world has yet to see. I am still looking. No, this is not a happy father’s day message. It is about my fathers whose impact on me is still working on me 50 years on. To be a father is a special thing. To be a father is; to give a name, to bear the blame, to seek out, to draw out, to challenge, to mentor, to teach, to be strong and stand with the weak. It is to take a risk, to believe and be a bridge to another man’s future and make an eternal difference by touching a life where it matters. Munroe never knew my name, but he had a heart for the third world. By him I expanded my mission to Africa.  Another father passed on this year. Dodman did not do anything special. But always did what needed to be done when it needed to be done. He was reliable. I want to be that when I am done. Be a father to someone.

Allan Bukusi



Thursday, October 5, 2017

SAVE THE ECONOMIC SLAVES OF AFRICA


Spare a moment to consider the plight of luckless slaves pursued by their benefactors for taxes and treats across the continent. But just who are these slaves? They are ostensibly called the middle-class; the 5% of the population that carries the economic burden of state. While government targets employees in formal employment to pay for legislation that maintains the state; the rest of the population prey on wage earners for the essentials of food, shelter and school fees.

This privileged 5% of the population has an enviable profile. Each will have an education far above the rest of the population. Most live in urban areas where access to the pleasures of life are easiest. Nonetheless in this position they are subject to multiple legislative burdens unheard of in the village. They will be punished for enjoying the privileges of urban existence by paying for everything they consume, use or make an attempt to own. 98% (of the 5%) live in houses they do not own and work on jobs that belong to the upper class, the government and foreign investors. They may drive a car on loan but owning a house is well beyond their reach. The broad majority of the lower middle-class, will be scaling public transport before 8am and after 5pm. While they appear fashionably dressed, a cost they must pay for whatever economic empowerment they earn, their income is frequently raided by inflation and vandalized by any number of pretentious rent seekers.

Nonetheless, while employees have a source of regular income they do not have access to capital! Bank interest rates are so high they do not support individual enterprise. It is better to remain employed than try to break into the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Incidentally the same two benefactors are ready and waiting to punish anyone who thinks of abandoning the employment lines. A host of legal agencies are instructed to punish any initiative to depart from the workforce with licenses, levies and all manner of innovative tolls and tariffs.

Because employees have a number, their records are sped post haste to government advisers who ensure that employment income is directly taxed to the tune of 35% or more of gross earnings to pay for the privilege of being employed and the support of those who escape formal jobs. While employees fund 60-80% of national coffers, their vote (less than 5%) does not influence the economic destiny of the nation. The ballot box remains a balkanized conspiracy of the wealthy, ethnicity and religious bias. No one really cares where the money comes from so long as it is a democracy. Yet the middle class in wealthy nations directly influence the vote.

“The creative class, which comprises a third to more than forty percent of the workforce in the advanced nations, includes scientists and technologists; artists, cultural creatives, and media workers, as well knowledge-based professionals in business, education, and health-care. While the varied members of the working class had physical skills as a shared trait, the diverse groups of workers that make up the creative class all draw on their underlying human creativity. The even larger service class is made up of lower-skill, lower-wage, routine service occupations in fields like health care support, food preparation and service, low-end retail, and office and administrative positions.” GLOBAL CREATIVTY INDEX 2015.

The global creativity index lists talent, technology and tolerance as the keys to economic advancement  and credits the creative class as the drivers. Luxemburg has a creative class of 54%, Singapore 47%, United Kingdom 44% and USA 33%. Ghana stands at 8.61%, Rwanda 3.76 % but the majority of countries in Africa are unlisted. It is not hard to see that while the working class in the west creates wealth, the working class in Africa is drained of the wealth it creates. Around the world the middle class is known for its professionalism, creativity, productivity and enterprise. Unfortunately the percentage of the middle class in Africa is shrinking. Economic slaves are dying younger by the generation. They hardly remain employed more than a few years. They are coming under such pressure as to abandon the state and migrate to other nations where they can enjoy a measure of the wealth they earn and send a little back home by western union, Mpesa and a number of other transfer vehicles.

The reason I plead for employees is that there can be no meaningful development and national growth without the empowerment of the people of a land. While skewed per capita incomes and GDPs can be manufactured by inviting a few foreign investors to put up factories, real empowerment only comes from the creativity of the people. Unless this 5% is nurtured, encouraged expanded and empowered countries will continue to fleece the life out of its wealth creating citizenry. But to whom do I plead? My plea is to policy makers at all levels and every sphere of society to ensure that policy is not punitive to wealth creators and discouraging to innovators to the extent that it kills the will to take initiative to produce value.

While I have a great concern for the plight of employees across Africa, I am desperately worried about the majority of employees who do not comprehend that they create wealth and consign themselves to be slaves! After producing wealth for their employers, economic slaves retire distraught, disillusioned and penniless. Distraught; when they look back at how much they have earned and yet do not own. Disillusioned; because they were promised that education and employment would elevate them from poverty. And penniless; because they have no clue as to the purpose or principles of money!


Allan Bukusi is the author of

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why I want you to be creative!

CREATIVE PEOPLE AND THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
Why do I want you to be creative? Because creative people rule the world! Creative people are rich – in many ways. They solve problems we could not be bothered to imagine. Creative people think and do. Most of us do because we are told to; creative people think and make and do for us what we could not be bothered to do it for ourselves. Creative people explore the life the rest of us find a chore. While creative people achieve, the rest merely receive. Creative people make the future the rest of us live it.  We pay creative people to entertain us, to serve us and to show us the way. Most of us aspire for no more than a challenge creative people make the challenge, recreate the challenge and live beyond it. Creatives set goals when most of us are satisfied with roles. Creatives see things, sense things and question things. They ponder and mull things and do things differently. Creative people never lack things to do, they do what is available, what they need to do and then do some more. The rest of us make do with what comes our way and if it does not come, we do not go out of our way to look for it. While most of us are prepared to go the extra mile, creative people go all the way! To be creative is the reason you were created. To create is to find meaning in life, create value for the world and leave a legacy. Creativity will lead you to a career and if there is none your creativity will make a career for you. Find what you were made to create and get to it. Nothing more can be more fulfilling. Nothing more can be more of a calling. Nothing more can be so gripping. Nothing more can be more of a reason to be. Get to it and get to be.

Allan Bukusi

TRAINING LEADERS

Sunday, August 27, 2017

In the face of the setting sun.

The assignment; life! The method; character, competence and confidence. Courage is the capacity to do life, yet failure comes early to the brave. Nonetheless, the lesson of failure is only a step, alongside the way of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and diligence.

Courage; the ability to do, to go and to be. It is the energy and mastery to become. To face your fears and work through your tears may take you many years. But there is no shame in effort and sacrifice that moves you closer to a noble goal. Every step, though others may not see, is victory. Victory, you see, is not born at the end of a thing nor is it in its convincing. Victory is in the conviction of the beginning to stay the course.

There is no shame in struggle, for the outcome may not be yours to handle. But in determination, perseverance and striving for, is the celebration of the human spirit to dominate the earth. Come my son, go my daughter - take hold of life with Spirit. Take it for none can withhold it from you.

Be mindful of the heart, but let it not trick you to take a trail to no avail. For vanity hides easily among lies and deceit. Courage is the high road, all else is hollow. It matters not how long you live nor how far you travel, but how well you live and the legacy you leave, creates a path that others will follow. And when all is said and you stand alone in the face of the setting sun, by the grace of God His will be done.


Allan Bukusi
TRAINING LEADERS

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